Party On. Singapore! @ D’Marquee, Downtown East

So what did you do on New Year?s Eve?

A few days prior to the last day of ?06, I got my knickers all in a bunch, upon noticing the abysmal number of countdowns and parties littering the nation, and being the indecisive twat that I am, I couldn?t make up my mind. A friend of mine suggested we head to the usual ? town ? just like how it was last year, and I literally snapped at her in horror.

I remember all of NYE 2005 vividly, my petite self wedged between the millions of people (ok, fine, I?m exaggerating, but it really did feel like it) thronging the entire stretch of the tourist trap-cum-consumer paradise that is Orchard Road, hastily dodging the insidious snow sprays as merrymakers pounced on unsuspecting victims gleefully; and albeit it being the festive season, I was not happy at all ? far from it ? and as the clock slowly ticked into midnight heralding the arrival of a new year, I wanted to stand in the middle of everything and scream.

Past reminiscences aside, I did not want to spend the 31st of December, 2006 at home; I wanted company, and unlike the year before, some semblance of sanity, and perhaps even a proper place to sit, so I was trawling the Internet frantically, eliminating this and considering that, until I noticed Party On Singapore! right in the heartlands at Downtown East, and adding to the fact that I live in the east (how very convenient), I jumped at the opportunity, wondering to myself why I hadn?t noticed it before.

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Besides indecisiveness (aforementioned) being one of my traits, tardiness is another ? I arrived slightly past 9pm, the event already into full swing (it started at 8pm), my friends waiting for me inside D?Marquee with perplexed expressions on their faces as I muttered a quick apology and scanned the almost-packed to capacity tent that was mostly filled with families (there was also a big screen outside on the field capturing what happened indoors). Everyone was seated comfortably on the floor, some with their own mats laid out, the requisite snacks already bought and half-consumed.

The sound system was good, so good, as emcees Glenn and Charmaine bantered with the audience in between sets, in a mixture of English and Mandarin, providing the much-needed entertainment as we all know the wait for the next item can be such a drag. I managed to catch a little bit of Links, a group of female violinists from Shanghai ? their come-hither looks and titillating red dresses, coupled with knee-high white boots surely providing a certain sort of eye candy for the testosterone-charged men below. Loud gasps were heard as pyrotechnics filled the air during the performance ? the visual effects were definitely spectacular, to say the least.

Next up was an entire lineup of sets that would cause a rabid adolescent teenage fan girl to think she died and went to heaven. Judging from the looks on their faces, perhaps they did. Battle of the Bands winner Say Whale and Superband runner-up Soul, together with local rock heroes Ronin played one after another, along with screams reverberating off the walls of the entire venue.

Of course, to offset the rock star one-two punch, there were street dancers Break Force Crew (above) in between, wowing the audience with their slick b-boy and b-girl moves ? one of them did a handstand to raucous applause.

One had to stand in order to see what was happening on the stage as people started standing up by then, crowding the front armed with cameras busy snapping away, some jumping excitedly and singing along to songs (apparently they know every word) at the top of their voices. Amidst the cacophony, the 3 bands were really, truly, phenomenal ? Say Whale at their top form; Soul tugging at one?s heartstrings with their melodic voices and Ronin? well, what can I say? Awesome rendition of the Guns N? Roses hit song Sweet Child O? Mine, and a very tight set all the way.

Well-liked and well-known Taiwanese artiste Fan Wei Qi (or affectionately known as Fan Fan) performed next, her soft, lilting voice lulling the audience into a peaceful state of mind, especially with all the excitement that happened earlier.

She spoke to the crowd in between songs, telling us in her sweet voice that this was her first time celebrating the New Year away from her homeland, and you could feel a few hearts melting at that thought.

Naturally, with her being the last performer of the night, she sang her way into the countdown, where she was then accompanied by the rest of whom performed before her ? the energy was high as everyone slowly stood up (with coaxing from the emcees and stars, the Singaporeans that we are) and counted down the last seconds to midnight, a huge fanfare indeed as kids ran around excitedly and everyone looking like they just ingested happy pills of some kind.

Nothing like the festive season and the promise of new things to bring collective smiles to our faces, eh?

Of course, the party did not end there ? how would it have been complete without a DJ and some mad dancing? DJ Jason Chow appeared shortly after the countdown, spinning some frantic trance coupled with Eurodance, and even though you could see a fair number of people leaving the venue (families, mostly), there were a significant amount of people who stayed to let their hair down, me and my friends included, to revel in the post-countdown adrenaline still coursing through our veins.

I had fun this New Year?s Eve, and I hope you did, too.?May 2007 be a better one for all of us.